THE UNBULGARIANS: ANDREA GENCHEVA

by Dimana Trankova; photography by Anthony Georgieff

Andrea Gencheva is a 30-year-old Hungarian from Serbia, and has an MA in English literature. She settled in Bulgaria in 2011 with her Bulgarian husband, and now teaches English.

andrea gencheva.jpg


Have you experienced special treatment because you are a foreigner?

People tend to smile more when you are a foreigner who tries to speak Bulgarian. They would go the extra mile to help you, because you were really trying a little.

What about sexism?

Bulgarian men, like the Serbian men, tend to be kind of Balkan macho. But I can't say that I've been discriminated against.

Is there a typical Bulgarian character trait?

No one wants to work and everyone says "I don't have any money." But I've met some very hard working people, so, of course, I generalise.

How has life in Bulgaria surprised you?

I thought I was going to understand more because I speak Serbian. Apart of that, I wasn't really surprised by anything.

Do you celebrate Bulgarian holidays?

Yes, because my husband does. I really like Baba Marta. And I like when my mother-in-law makes a pitka bread for name days. We don't have name days, and when I discovered I have one, it was awesome.

Can you describe Bulgaria in three words?

Bad parking. Polite people, but I mean at the Post Office and even the Migration Directorate of the Interior Ministry. I am not sure if they are because I try to be extra nice so may be they are returning the favour, but I've met some very nice people at those agencies. Beautiful nature. I like the most the Rila Mountain, we went to the Seven Lakes and it was just breathtaking.

Do you plan to stay here?

Yes, we do, hopefully.

What in your opinion is to be Bulgarian?

Love for your country. Even in Sofia Bulgarians try to be modern, but also to preserve their traditions. In Serbia you can see it only in the deep countryside.

Do you feel Bulgarian?

Sometimes. When you get married to someone, you take a little bit of who they are and what they represent.

 

EEA GrantsThe UnBulgarians is a project of the Free Speech International Foundation and the Multi Kulti Collective, sponsored by the NGO Programme in Bulgaria under the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area 2009-2014

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